On a hot summer day in the suburbs of Massachusetts, a group of white kids can be seen outside throwing a ball at a basketball hoop. I’m careful to not refer to it as “basketball” because it’s more-so just a bunch of pubescent nerds taking turns throwing fastballs at a rim.
One of these youngsters - not to be mistaken for a woman in high heels and a summer dress - is wearing a black jersey four-sizes too large and down to his shins.
This thirteen year-old was me.
With my XXL Houston Rockets T-Mac jersey, my edgy flat-rimmed hat, and my carpenter jeans meant for a 400lb plumber, I was unequivocally the biggest douche on the street.
I didn’t have much of a jump shot, I couldn’t dribble for shit, and i was unable to get into a defensive stance because my jeans sagged below my ass. But what I did possess was an image of myself self-inflated to XXL size. I was the only kid I knew who had a McGrady jersey and I felt like the man for having it.
Because of the harsh denial I was in I yelled “iso” whenever I touched the ball, drove the lane, and unsuccessfully attempted shots that required more than nano-seconds of hang time. While in reality If I hadn't scored at least six times a game I'd be quite concerned with my own motor skills, I still felt like I was a baller.
In school I was never sure how to wear the jersey properly.
Ironically, the proper answer was to probably just not wear it to begin with, but unfortunately that's not how history works. The solution I went with was rather than letting it hang below my knees I kept one hand on it at all times. This prevented it from hanging too low. Inconveniently, none of the jeans I owned fit me properly either, so I'd be forced to waddle down the hallways with both of my hands occupied by ill-fitting clothing. Naturally, this gave me an excuse to never carry books or school supplies on me.
Needless to say, if you're looking for someone to bring logic to the "McGrady v. The Hall of Fame," debate - this is the wrong place. This is nothing more than some dude from New England expressing his personal connection with T-Mac.
He never won a championship or earned M.V.P and was only a seven time all-star. But Tracy McGrady inspired me to act like a complete asshat in middle-school, and never pass the ball when me and my friends played pickup hoops.
So from the bottom of my heart - Congrats Tracy.